The Picture That Caused a Stink (or: Don’t Shave That Dog)

The picture you see here is not the picture that caused a stink.

The picture that did cause a stink is “safe” for a dog lover to see in that it’s it’s not bloody, gory, sad, horrible or depict cruelty in any way. That said, we find it unsettling enough not to post, but you can see it here.  Evidently, the photograph of the Husky with an extreme haircut created such an uproar on social media at the time that it went viral and caused people to discuss whether giving a dog such a hair cut is being cruel, uninformed, or just plain silly.

It was a worthy discussion then, and it’s a good discussion to have now because at the beginning of the summer, a lot of people shave their dogs thinking that they are being kind. They’re really not.  Nature provided dogs with coats that excel at trapping air and insulating a dog to be able to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Dogs don’t sweat like we do, anyway.  Their sweat glands are largely limited to their paw pads, and they cool off by panting and vasodilation. In fact, panting provides 80% of a dog’s cooling ability. They breathe rapidly, bring cooler air into contact with the moist tissues of their mouth and lungs which is where moisture evaporates and dissipate heats. At the same time, the blood vessels expand in the dog’s head allowing blood to be closer to the surface to cool off before it cycles back deeper into the body.

A dog’s coat also protects it from sunburn (and greater risk of skin cancer), bug bites, and heat stroke.  Also, in some breeds, regrowing coat can take a very long time and could lead to post-clipping alopecia, or hair loss, so says the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Friends don’t let friends shave down their healthy coated dogs for the summer. Regular coat maintenance – brushing and grooming – should be all that’s needed. 
Image: Siberian Huskies by John Daniels is available as wall art, home decor and personal items here

One thought on “The Picture That Caused a Stink (or: Don’t Shave That Dog)”

  1. When I worked as a groomer I got extremely frustrated with owners of obese dogs who got them shaved because they got so hot. They never seemed to make the connection between over feeding and over heating.

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